Senators cross party lines to question Sereno's ouster

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 17) — Fourteen lawmakers have signed the Senate resolution that questions the Supreme Court's ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice.

They are Senate President Koko Pimentel, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Sonny Angara, Grace Poe, Francis "Chiz" Escudero, Loren Legarda, Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Kiko Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Antonio Trillanes IV, Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, and detained Senator Leila de Lima.

According to the resolution, Congress has the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment. It states that the decision to grant the quo warranto petition that ousted former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno could set a dangerous legal precedent.

Senator Aquino appealed to his fellow senators to sign the resolution that will "categorically oppose the SC's unconstitutional quo warranto decision."

"This abuse of power threatens every Filipino and now we senators must make a stand and fulfill our mandate to uphold checks and balances, whatever our political color. Together with the public, we must dissent this abuse to our rights and our sacred Constitution," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

However, Senator Gringo Honasan said that it's too early for the Senate to act on the impeachment, as they have yet to receive the articles of impeachment from the House of Representatives. Honasan did not sign the resolution.

"Quo warranto may appeal mechanism. Nagde-decide pa yung House. Pag pinasa nila sa min then it sets in motion yung proseso dito sa senado so napakarami pang variables," Honasan said.

[Translation: The House is still deciding. Once they pass the articles to us, it sets in motion the process here in the Senate. There's still so many variables.]

The majority of Supreme Court justices, in a landmark ruling on May 11, voted to grant Solicitor General Jose Calida's quo warranto petition to unseat Sereno.

Eight justices - Teresita de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes, and Alexander Gesmundo - voted to oust her.

Related: Supreme Court ousts Sereno in historic ruling

The decision has elicited outrage among some senators. The Senate serves as an impeachment court for Sereno once the House of Representatives transmits to the Upper

Related: Senators oppose Supreme Court ruling on quo warranto